Saturday, May 30, 2015

Home Of....

WOW!  How cool and what an honor!!



Friday, May 29, 2015

Be Aware of the Drunks

I was playing league last night in my ladies league.

Before we started, one of our opponents, and a friend of mine, was playing a guy who had been hovering around.

I did not know if she knew this guy or not.  Let me just begin right now calling him "the Drunk".

He played against her and it seemed like he was flirting with her.  Which is fine - flirt all you want, dude.  But you'll need to get off the table soon so we can start our match.

Sure enough, I have to play my friend first, who was just playing the Drunk.

We play on the same table that they had been hitting balls on, and sure enough, there he was:  lurking, watching, drunk.

After she racked the balls, she had to walk by him because he was using the wall to lean on, and he says, "just don't leave her a shot and you'll do fine."

I am sitting there like, "Really?"

But, I knew he was drunk.

She broke and we went back and forth a little bit because of a lot of clusters.

Every time she got to the table he would lean toward her and say, "just don't leave her a shot."

I normally would get upset at "coaching."  But let's look at a few things:
  1. He was drunk
  2. He repeated the same "advice" and didn't really talk about particular shots
  3. He was drunk
  4. He wasn't a friend of hers
  5. He wasn't doing it deliberately, he just wasn't aware he shouldn't have been
I was glad I didn't get upset, because people like that can be very distracting.  And when she would make a shot, he would spout out, "good shot!"

Towards the end of the game, he tells her again, "just don't leave her a shot."  And she finally turns to him and says smartly, "You aren't suppose to talk to us during our matches during league!"

He stood there holding the wall up, and didn't say anything again.  But he was too drunk to even realize he should have just moved out of the area.  Eventually he left, after that match, but it's amazing how he was kinda distracting for both of us.  But, since we were both aware he was simply drunk, we didn't really let it get to us and tried to play pool with that surrounding.  I've bee around much worse drunks trying to play, so it wasn't too bad.  Just weird.




Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Playing With Strangers

I think sometimes it's actually better to play pool where no one knows your name. Yes I know that is a reference to the show Cheers, but it's very apropos.

The reason I say that is I have heard lately from several players that when people start complaining about how good you are or have improved a lot, it actually leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

One local player was venting on Facebook about needing a break from pool because everyone was giving him a hard time about all the weight they needed to gamble with him. He was just really frustrated with all the nits and the complainers that he is finding in the pool room of late.

I actually got a lot of complaints when I played at BCA Texas state because some people were upset that I was just an open player.  But I actually don't know why they would get upset at me when I'm not the one who decides my ranking.  It's the national guys who figure out the rankings... so getting upset with me doesn't even make sense.  And like my friend who is hearing a bunch of complaints too, I understand because it is very frustrating and takes away from the fun of the game.

A couple of other friends are very high ranked players and so when they enter tournaments they get slack as well because players complain that they are playing in a state tournament.  Or even when they show up to weekly tournaments, they get slack as soon as they walk in the door.  "Oh, you're playing here tonight.  Really?"

And what's crazy is the good players just want to play pool like everybody else.

So that's why I think it's sometimes a lot better to play around strangers.  Where no one knows your name.  Or you won't get comments, nits around you, and you get to play the game we all love.



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Fast Eddie's Friend

I was playing my favorite table game at Planet Hollywood in Vegas during ACS Nationals.  It's called High Card Flush and the only thing I play now.  Here is a pic of me playing it:


I have seven cards in my hand - it looks like more in the pic - but you get 7 cards and try to make a flush.  The higher number of cards the better.  Straight flush included?  Even better.

I played here a lot because it's my fav place to play.

I was talking to the pit boss and he was asking why I was in Vegas.  I told him for a pool tournament.

He then shares with me that he knew Fast Eddie!  Personally, new Eddie Parker. He said that Fast Eddie was a dealer at this very casino (when it was the Aladdin) from about 1975 to 1980.  He said Fast Eddie was a really nice guy, too.

Pretty cool to hear things about players we've heard about our whole lives!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Play By Play?

I was approached by the ladies who run the OnTheRail stream at the very beginning of the BCAPL Texas state tourney.

They asked if I would like to try something new.

They thought that my "fans" would love to follow me online and see my progress DURING the matches.

First of all, I doubt people want to follow me THAT closely.  Second, I was honored they wanted me to test it, but I was apprehensive.  Third, I really wanted to focus on my matches.

You see, I'd have to use their tablet or my phone and take score after each GAME - not each match.  I I thought it would actually be distracting for myself AND my opponent if I was to take score on an electronic device after every single game.

And I also thinks that's a little bit pressure to know my scores are online in real time.  She would have wanted me to advertise I was testing it, and I don't need any extra added pressure, lol.

I told her I was flattered she asked me, but since I was the defending champion, I just didn't want to do it during my first match, esp since I knew who we were to be playing in the first round of scotch doubles.

After we won, I again didn't want do do it because it was a tough team and friends.  I just imagined all these things in my head : distraction, upsetting my opponents, me not concentrating on my game, etc.

I went back and told them I didn't feel comfy.  She said, "maybe singles?"

Well, I was defending champion for that event, too, lol, and I really didn't want any distractions or interference.

I think if everyone does this, it would be okay, but having just a few people test it without it being well advertised would just be bothersome to myself and my opponents.  I know I would care more about how my opponent felt about me taking score on an electronic device and if I was bothering them, instead of focusing on my game.

And I had SEVERAL hill-hill, close, emotional matches and as I reflect back, it definitely would have not been good.

The website is called http://www.scoresaloon.com if you want to check it out.  Maybe this will be something in the future for all pool players?


Friday, May 22, 2015

Male BackTalk

It always amazing me how guys talk shit to each other.  I hear it every once in a while and every time I do, I'm kinda stunned.

As I wrote about before, women just don't do this.  We are careful not to point out flaws or poke fun at our fellow female friends.  It's just not something we do. 

Men on the other hand, they speak what's on their mind to another guy, even if it's a stab or jab or rude.  I have witnessed that most men hardly ever respond or react, they just take the words, accept it, or joke back.  Not many feelings are hurt, is what I mean I guess.  Whereas if females were to jab at each other, one would prolly go off crying or another would never speak to that female again.  We are just wired differently.

At league on Tuesday, our star player missed an easy shot in the side pocket.  One of the teammates on the OTHER team said, "Wow, how did you miss that?"

Another one said, "That's your star player, I never thought he'd miss a shot like that."

And then a few more comments ensued.

I was pretty surprised.  My teammate just sat there and watched his opponent run out and then shook his hand.

He never replied, he never shot back with words, he didn't argue back or anything.

I did see him go outside, and when he came back in he confided he had to step outside or else he would have said something.  He was upset and he mumbled, "I bet none want to play after league, do they."  But I know he wasn't seriously wondering, he was more reacting to their harsh words.

It may not seem harsh, but I was a bystander and I felt the embarrassment and rudeness of the words they said out loud and I admit I was shocked they said all that.

I just cannot see females doing that.  We might be thinking it, but we would never state out loud how bad someone is playing, lol.




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Nailed It (Again)

I wrote in April that my captain had her nail girl add 8-balls to her nails:






Well, she had them "fixed up" again for ACS Nationals.

For reference, here is our team shirt:


And here are her nails!


NAILED IT.

Love this.  Talk about team spirit and the love of the game!


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Disappointed My Team

Well, I didn't play up to par during the women's team event at ACS Nationals last week.  I know it's a team effort and there is no I in TEAM, but I know my teammates depend on me and I did not come through.

I don't know what was wrong with me, but I just didn't play well enough.  I was confident, but I didn't win enough games our last match and we went hill-hill and I lost.  But I should have won 2 of the other 3 games I played.

I am the best person to lose matches as I have the most experience and can handle defeat, but I still feel pretty badly about it.

I realize now I wasn't staying down well and I was thinking while down on my shots.  Just didn't play enough to work through that in time.

I admit I was bored, but I should still be able to perform well.  But, I didn't.  I feel I let the team down, but we did come from being down 6-1 to 9-8 before we lost hill-hill, so our team rallied really well!

I felt like they were disappointed, even if they didn't say so.  But, looking back, if any one of us had won one extra game we would have won that match.  So, I shouldn't beat myself up.  Plus, we played a good team.

I tried;I just wasn't playing well for some reason.  But, since that hasn't happened in a team event in several years, I admit it's shocking to me.  And stings.




Friday, May 8, 2015

Inside the Mind of a Champion

I think it would be cool to be able to listen in to the mind of a champion while they played pool.

And I don't mean for the regular shots, I mean for the difficult shots.  And what I really mean is, for the shots that we see them ponder-what-to-do-shots.

I was watching a close match against two top players in the area, who were fighting their way through Sunday matches on the Omega Billiards Tour last month.

I was giving play by play of one of the players to his best friend via text, so I was watching a little bit closer than I normally would.

At one point, they needed a ref.  I got in my position and I watched this guy try to figure out what he was going to do.

He looked around the table for a little bit, and then said to me, "I'm going to come this way and kick the ball cleanly."

Usually players don't say anything, or if I ask, they will say, "this way" and point.  Instead, he told me he was going make a good hit, basically.

Not only did he long rail kick the ball cleanly without fouling, he kicked it right in! 

I was impressed.  People clapped.  It was a nice shot!

During the next game, they again needed me to call a shot.

I got where I needed to be and I was a little mesmerized with this player.  I've never really seen him play before, and it was the first time he played on the tour in a few years.  I knew he played good and heard he played good, but watching this match, I really had no idea, lol. 

His opponent was on the hill, and he needed two games. His opponent just hooked him, and so he was trying to figure out what to do again.

Luckily for me, he was talking out loud to himself.

He would get down in his stance, and say, "kick it and hope to shit something in?" while he looked around at the table.

He would get back up, look around the table.  And you could see he was kinda going through every scenario in his mind.  His best friend, who I was texting, is also one of the top players in the area.  I have seen him play in pretty important matches and he does the same thing.  They take their time on critical shots, surveying every single scenario that could happen if they shot a shot a certain way.  They never rush and take extra time to think their way through the scenarios.  It's actually pretty impressive to see them not rush critical shots or situations, take their time, and really analyze closely ALL the options.  I love it!

Back to the table at hand -

He gets back down, again he says, "kick it and hope to shit something in?"

He gets back up, looks at the table.  Looks at the score.  Looks at the kick.  Again, out loud, "kick it and hope to shit something in?"

As he got down the final time to shoot, he got down like he was going to kick at the ball with a hope and prayer, and then all of a sudden turned his body around, and he played safe!  He rolled a ball against two other balls across the table so his opponent had to work for the run out.

It was super cool to witness.  I liked that he spoke out loud so I could join him in his thought process.  If I wasn't at the table to ref the shot, I doubt I would have heard him talking to himself.

He would end up winning that game and take the match hill-hill!

In the hill-hill match, his opponent rolled out and actually shit-kicked-safe on the two-ball.  My friend was left with another dilemma of what to do.

Again, you could see him analyze every option, every kick, every scenario.  He took his time, never rushed anything, and you could see he was going through all the options in his head.  If this happens, then this.  If I go this way, then this. 

It was a really great experience to watch this top player analyze his options.  And to see what he chose to shoot was also obviously pretty powerful.

In this instance, he two-railed kicked at the 2-ball and BARELY missed kicking it in.  It really was the best option, the one that would give him the best benefit to win at hill-hill.

He would end up losing, but those of us watching would be gaining.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Think About It"

I was playing league last night and in my last match of the evening, I was playing on the table that was closest to the other team.

My opponent was about to shoot his opening shot.  He didn't have many good choices, but I noticed the solids were in worse shape than the stripes.  He was about to shoot a combo on solids, but then he stood up because it wasn't an easy shot and he needed to look at it again.

As he stood there, a teammate says out loud to him, "Think about it.  THINK about it."

OMG REALLY?

He just coached his teammate!

I sat there, miffed.

And sure enough, my opponent changed his mind and took stripes.

I could have said something, I guess, but I am new to the league and do not know the guy.  But I was NOT happy.

He missed several shots in the game and so I was able to capitalize with good safeties and eventually ran out well to win. 

Still was pretty pissed, tho, lol.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Misjudged

I wrote before that how some people on the pool table, they most likely act that way off the pool table.

Someone who spews their emotions during competing prolly does that at work.
Someone who hustles in the pool room prolly does that in their work, too.
Someone that is quiet and happy all the time when competing, they will be like that in every day life, too.

However, I MUST be fair.

I must state LOUDLY that the other thing that I have learned is that there are MANY people who may "act up" during competitions, but they are in reality VERY great people.

One of my friends is not liked by many because she is an extrovert and states a lot of things out loud during matches that is not received very well.  Some people think she is sharking.  Some think she is rude.  In reality, it's just her personality.  And if you were to get to know her and to be her friend, she would move mountains for you.  She gives great advice and is a true friend.  And when I found out she was raised in a brutal environment and had to defend herself and her siblings throughout her teenage years, you understand why she comes across abrasive. 

One of my other friends hustles a lot.  He isn't liked much around the pool room.  But once people get to know him away from the game, they see a great guy with a huge heart.  And if you are lucky enough to be good friends with him, he'll be a true friend to the end and someone who would help you in any situation.

I think a lot of times we are too judgmental and not understanding. 

I think it's unfair to not like someone because they might be an "emotional" player or an extrovert, or don't yet know how to handle their feelings when they compete.

I used to be a "mad" player.  I'm not anymore.

A good friend used to show her anger a lot when she played pool and it affected A LOT of her competitors.  But she has worked on it and has changed and no longer does that.  And away from the table she has always been the sweetest woman in the world!

Another friend shows his anger when he competes and can come across as rude and inconsiderate.  Whereas off the table, he's a great guy and actually chooses his words wisely when he interacts on difficult topics. 


Notice as I describe these players, I am calling them all "friends."  Because they are.  Just because they are intense competitors doesn't mean they aren't good people with huge hearts.

So while I wrote before that the personalities we see on the table are often the type of person they are off the table, I wanted to be sure to share that some of the most animated or emotional players that might make you mad when you play them, are actually REALLY inspiring and impressive people away from the table. 

We must remember to not judge players away from the table based on how they act when they compete.  Competition brings out emotions we don't even understand ourselves sometimes. 

But give yourself a chance to get to know them anyway - because away from the table you might find the are amazing, wonderful, and become your best friends!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

ACS Nationals of 2015

This year will be a completely different trip to ACS Nationals in Las Vegas for me.

As I so detailedly wrote last year about my trip via many blog posts, this was the tourney I won my first-ever singles National title!!   Then my women's team won BOTH 8-ball and 9-ball!

However, this year will be different.

This year I am not playing in singles.  Nope, not even to defend my title.

I am only playing in the women's team event (with a different team, so I'm again playing in the Open division), but that is all.

I decided MONTHS ago I didn't want to play in singles.  It's so exhausting, really.  And so I decided to only play in the team event.

I am still arriving the weekend before in my FAV city, so I will get a mini-me-much-needed-vacation a few days before the team event starts.  I'm SO ready to gamble, walk the strip, eat at my favorite places, shop at Ross (yes, I do this in different cities, lol), and sit poolside and soak in some of that awesome Vegas sun!

So ready for this trip.  I admit - more ready to see Vegas again than play pool.  But, I'll still be a great teammate and ready to play when the time comes for my team!